This article from the Harvard Business Review has been making the rounds on twitter lately, as designers and other “creatives” rightly take offense to it’s demeaning tone and off-base “tips” on managing creative employees. I thought I’d take the opportunity to translate their 7 rules into actual advice that won’t send designers (and employees in general) running from your team:
HBR: Spoil them and let them fail.
TRANSLATION: Give employees a safe environment for creative risk-taking.
HBR: Surround them by semi-boring people.
TRANSLATION: Create collaborative, multidisciplinary teams to tackle hard problems.
HBR: Only involve them in meaningful work.
TRANSLATION: Make sure teams understand the company’s strategy and goals and how their projects fit in.
HBR: Don’t pressure them.
TRANSLATION: Create a flexible work environment that lets employees work in ways that they find most creative and productive.
HBR: Pay them poorly.
TRANSLATION: There’s nothing good here. Pay all employees what they’re worth, creative or otherwise.
HBR: Surprise them.
TRANSLATION: see #4.
HBR: Make them feel important.
TRANSLATION: Show them that you and the company value their contributions.